by Johanne Killeen
Cucina Simpatica brings to America’s home cooks the luscious and lusty food of Al Forno, the acclaimed Providence, Rhode Island, restaurant. The restaurant and its owners/chefs, Johanne Killeen and George Germon, have won many national awards for the superb cooking and down-to-earth style of their version of hearty yet utterly simple trattoria and Italian home cooking. In this, their first book, they translate their stylishly fresh and imaginative approach to Italian food into accessible recipes that will make every home cook itch to get into the kitchen. The 135 recipes reflect Killeen and Germon’s informal but meticulous cooking. Included are explicit, clear instructions for making their famous grilled pizza, which can be done even on a simple hibachi. The book is organized by course – from starters, soups, salads, bruschettas, crostinis, and polenta to pizzas, pastas, grills, roasts, braises, vegetables, condiments, and desserts — but the authors urge you to structure a meal that suits you: two starters, pizza only, main-course salad. George and Johanne cook pastas and vegetables and almost everything else in the restaurant’s wood-burning ovens and grills, and the smoky tastes that permeate these foods make for sublime eating. With the same flair and robust results, they also cook in and on conventional ovens and stoves and they teach you how to achieve their spectacular results. Novice and experienced cooks alike will be amazed and delighted by the wallop of assertive taste and subtlety produced by the simple, widely available ingredients and the easy, everyday techniques.